The presentation examined the evolution of democratic ideas as they relate to notions of power and authority in colonial history. The speaker also explored the inevitable conflicts that arise between the individual and the community. He related part of his presentation to De Tocqueville's notion that the Puritans were not merely the stewards of a religious doctrine but that they also represented the most democratic and republican of characteristics. The speaker also examined the key ideas of the Puritan ideology which influenced later colonial concepts of democracy. In particular, notions associated to participatory democracy were developed: the covenanted community, the need for small government, town meetings, preference of public liberty over private liberty, and promotion of civic virtue.
Puritans had a tremendous influence on the ideas of eighteenth-century Anti-Federalists. Some historians have termed the Anti-Federalists as "secular Puritans." Much of what the Anti-Federalists believed falls under the category of radical republicanism. Anti-Federalists held that power, by its very nature, is expansive. Since power resides in government and the state apparatus, it is left to the citizenry to defend our natural rights - liberty, law, and property. Lastly, the speaker discussed the motivations of the Federalists and how they differed from many republican thinkers who came before them: the advancement of private liberty over public liberty, the promotion of an energetic state, their views on human nature, and the role of institutions with regard to stability.
Mr. Mujal applied his notion of the expansive nature of government to the elastic clause (Article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution) and redirectits relevancy to modern conditions: President Johnson's Message to Congress (August 5, 1964) & Tonkin Gulf Resolution (August 7, 1964), National Security Strategy of the United States (2002), and Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (2002).